Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Swedish Paradox

An innovator according to the Swedish society? Buy one here.

The latest issue of European Business Magazine has a detailed analysis on the relationship between research and entrepreneurship in Sweden, called “Research Heaven or Entrepreneur Hell”. It confirms the state of the (lack of) Swedish innovation policy.

According to the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) Sweden and Finland are the EU’s innovative leaders. Innovation meaning “competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy”. We have all the requirements and are leading in all the important indicators.

But according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor we’re up s**t creek in entrepreneurship. Sweden has severe problems to transform this strength into commercial applications. see previous post

The European Innovation Scoreboard also confirms the U.S. leading position in R&D expenditures. The US government is mainly focused on contracts and procurement like the SBIR program for early-stage technology funding for small businesses (approximately 80% of the US government effort with a strong emphasis on defence and space).

The US universities are integrated in the innovation process, largely contributing to the diffusion of an innovative spirit. The report also concludes that there is plenty of evidence of a widespread European corporate weakness, given the fact that European firms have lower commitments to research and patenting and their weak participation to the core international oligopolies.

I get the feeling that the Swedish attitude towards innovation systems is that it consists of a bunch of propeller heads. To be an innovator is not distinguished enough to be taken seriously.


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